This was really awkward.
Being one of the acts where both performers were totally useless with a needle and thread, the costume designers would plan and go about sowing our outfits for each new tour stop.
They were a day late but I was willing to bet it was because they were just as overworked as the rest of us.
I half-coughed, half-cleared my throat.
"Could you hurry please? I've got places to be, you know."
"Sorry." the lady muttered through a mouthful of pins, holding up different fabrics and taking turns draping them over my bare shoulders, "I just have to find something that goes well with your deathly complexion."
Ouch. Wasn't my fault I looked almost translucent sometimes.
"Is it alright if I put something on, at least?!"
She shook her head before rolling her eyes in a subtle way that she thought I wasn't able to notice.
"I need the right measurements. Don't worry, though, I've already put a sign on the door to keep anyone from barging in and spotting you like this."
As if on cue the door swung open and I shrieked, grabbing the sheet the costume designer was holding and covering myself with it as best I could.
Eli was waving around an envelope that was presumably for me but quickly became engrossed in laughing at my disposition and probably tomato-red face, a split-second before I grabbed a mannequin head from a bench nearby and hurled it at him as hard as possible.
He managed to dodge it but still, thankfully, shut the door and didn't open it again.
The lady gave me an apologetic look before grabbing a few more fabrics.
"Despite the potential for certain illiterate and bothersome people I can't do much more than the sign until the lock gets fixed."
I shrugged, simply hoping that the humiliated blush that had undoubtedly crept onto me was wearing off.
"What happened to the lock, anyways?"
She held up a swatch before replying, still working as she spoke.
"I haven't gotten around to asking Wiseacre yet, but I guess it was just some teenagers looking to make a mess. The room was in perfect order, though."
"What do you think of this?" she asked, holding up a piece of crimson satin against my arm.
"It's nice." I mumbled, uninterested.
The costume designer then proceeded to note down the data retrieved from the tape-measure around her neck before pointing to where I'd piled my clothes in the corner.
"You can go now."
Finally. I dressed rapidly, already sick and tired of standing around in my undies, and left the room with a sigh of relief.
And then cringed.
Something was stuck to my shoe. I didn't dare look down to see what it was, for fear of finding someone's abandoned gum stretching from my flats.
"You didn't manage to kill me quite yet, Millie darling."
I was automatically scowling before even meeting Eli's eyes, walking on despite the irritation of having something dragging along with my shoe.
"Millie, really? Don't make me regret my bad aim any more than I already am."
Eli laughed, as if the idea of me wanting him dead was completely incomprehensible.
"I don't see why you were throwing that disembodied head at me anyways, considering I was doing you a favour."
"...and that is?"
He handed me an envelope, just in time for when the stickiness of my foot to the ground became unbearable.
I stopped, looking down to see some kind of flyer bit trapped under my shoe and yanked it off.
Col. Merriweather's Traveling Circus
Come one, come all to our spectacular show!
Prepare to be amazed with the unbelievable
feats of our performers and their dazzling
Tour locations and dates:
October 5-12 Collingwood Square, IL
October 14-21, Verdun Place, LA
The rest was illegible and/or torn, but it was enough information for me, anyways. This was some kind of a clue and, if I'd picked it up from inside the costume designer's room, could have some relation to the broken lock. Besides, the carnival was performing in Louisiana, right when we happened to be too, and not that far away.
Coincidence? In Wiseacre's circus, probably not.
"What is that?"
My train of thought was horrendously brought to a screeching halt by the obviously-nosy Eli.
"Nothing, just some garbage." I replied, stuffing it into a pocket with the envelope.
He gave me a strange look but let it go, leaving me alone after someone called his phone and 'needed him' for something.
I was too busy to care, making my own call soon afterwards.
"Nixie? Yeah, it's Camille. I was wondering if you'd want to take a trip to this circus in town on our day off..."